In a previous blog post, Replace Drafty and Leaky Windows with Vinyl to Save Money, we discussed that if you have drafty or leaky windows, you may be able to recaulk the windows and that may fix the issue. Depending on the circumstances you may need to replace your window completely.
While recaulking is easy and relatively simple there are many ways to do it incorrectly and hinder the results. Below are 10 quick tips for re-caulking your windows.
- Select 100% Silicone Caulk
Silicone is permanently waterproof, flexible, and shrink-/crack-proof, it provides sustained benefits. On the other hand Acrylic caulk can shrink and crack over time, leaving gaps for air and water to seep through.
- Don’t Forget the Caulk Gun and Razor Blade
Before you go to the store to purchase the caulk, check to see if you have a caulk gun, razor blade and cleaning cloth handy. If you don’t you want to be sure to pick one up these supplies you’re at the store.
- Before Applying New Caulk Remove Away the Old Caulk and Clean the Area
You can remove the caulk by using a razor blade. This process also strips off any mold or mildew that may have formed. Once you’ve removed the old caulk clean the surface with a household cleaner, rubbing alcohol, and wipe with a clean cloth. Before recaulking make sure the surface is clean, dry, and free of soap, grease, dirt, and dust.
- Take Time to Locate and Seal All Leaks in Your Home
Inspect windows, doors, electrical wiring plumbing, attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Leaks in these areas can sometimes be even bigger problems than leaks in windows and doors.
- Watch Where You Cut the Tube of Caulk
The line of caulk that is formed when squeezing a caulk gun is called a bead. Cutting the tube of caulk correctly helps ensure a good bead. Be careful to cut the opening of the caulk tube to fit the job at hand. Cut the end of the tube for a small bead and closer to the tube for a large bead. Note silicone caulk typically has an inner seal that needs to be pierced before you begin.
- Apply the Caulk in a Smooth Steady Bead
Hold the caulk gun at a 45-degree angle and be sure to apply an evenness of pressure while squeezing the gun. Aim to make one solid pass when applying to avoid making a mess.
- Use Additional Material for Filling Large Spaces
If the space you are sealing is too big (exceeds 1/2″ x 1/2″), it’s not a matter of adding more caulk. First you’ll need a backer rod, which is an extruded foam rod that is typically placed in deep joints to fill in some of the space before the caulk is applied.
- Even the Best Laid Caulk Requires Tooling
Caulking begins with laying the bead of caulk and ends with “tooling,” or smoothing, the caulk. Run your finger along the bead to ensure that it’s neat, even, and most importantly, fills the gap to form a tight seal.
- Don’t Let Water Wash Away Your Hard Work
Some caulk requires up to 24 hours or longer before it can be exposed to water or the caulk will wash away. Be sure to keep this in mind when applying your caulk.
- Caulk is for Sealing not Gluing
Caulk is used to seal the gaps and cracks that exist between two adjoining materials—places where air and/or water could seep through (e.g., window and door frames, between a sink and countertop, etc.). If you can see daylight through the crack, or feel a draft, seal it with silicone!
Core content pulled gathered by ge.com
If your windows are:
- hard to open
- old and not aesthetically appealing
- not made with energy efficient glass
- not satisfying you
you may be in need of replacement vinyl windows.